Depression is something we all deal with at times, however, for some of us, the pain is consistent and beyond the scope of simply feeling badly. It can wreak havoc on our personal lives, hold us back from accomplishing our potential and also eventually affects our physical health.
And while we all have encountered this, whether, in ourselves or our family members, most of us accept the typical myths surrounding it as fact. Due to this, there is a massive stigma surrounding depression, leaving the majority of us in the dark. Oftentimes, we look at people with depression, and we assume that they have control over their illness. And I am here to tell you that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
With that being said, there are several myths, including that one, and I’d love if we could all agree to lay them to rest, right here and right now.
1. Depression is only caused by circumstances or events in our lives.
While depression will almost always follow a traumatic event or one that is difficult, depressed people don’t always have a specific reason or trigger. Depression is typically something that hits us out of nowhere, making it more difficult to handle harder circumstances.
2. Depression is entirely in our heads.
We often look at people who are depressed and assume that they are dealing with thoughts or issues that lie only within their minds. However, depression is a condition that has to be dealt with in similar ways to other medical issues within our bodies.
3. It can only be treated with medicine.
While many people respond to medicine, not all people do. Many find help through therapy, changes in diet, increased activity, and through peer support.
4. We are doomed to be depressed due to genetics.
Society often assumes that when we have family members who are depressed, we too will be depressed. But, many other factors can be included, and genetics, while a major link isn’t always a sure-fire trigger to depression.
5. Women are the only ones suffering from depression.
The National Institute of Mental Health reports that women experience depression at twice the rate of men. This can be because of hormones, social stresses, and family responsibility. Men also deal with depression, but they deal with it differently in many cases.
6. Depression is caused by a weak mind.
Weakness and depression are consistently spoken of as though they go hand in hand. However, some of the strongest people deal with depression, and many people who suffer, suffer in silence. Great leaders including Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill both dealt with depression, and I highly doubt either of them were weak-minded.
7. Depression is the same as being sad.
While sadness is a symptom of depression, depression goes far beyond just simply feeling sad. As someone who suffers from depression, I know that a myriad of symptoms come with my diagnosis, from an inability to experience pleasure at times, to fluctuating pain throughout our bodies.
8. Depression isn’t as big of a deal as other mental illnesses.
If we were speaking about two people with two different mental illnesses, and one of them was depression, depression would likely be downplayed as the lesser illness. However, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Depression is a deadly disease, with many lives lost to suicide. When speaking of depression, we must take it seriously.
9. Medication is required for the rest of your life.
While some may need it for the rest of their lives, others experience relief when they use it to get through a rough patch in conjunction with therapy. Some use medicine until other treatments are available, or begin to work properly for them. Each person has a unique treatment path and some options work better for some than others.
10. It is a rite of passage.
Depression is not normal and is not something that everyone should have to deal with on a clinical level. We all may experience feelings of depression, but experiencing it regularly is much different.
11. Depression is a one size fits all diagnosis.
There are many symptoms of depression, from access and pains to a lack of motivation and loss of pleasure. While I may experience aches and pains, and a lack of appetite or desire to partake in normal activities, others may feel tired and ashamed. We are not all the same.